Mike Anderson’s classic style of skating doesn’t exist in a vacuum. From Van Wastell and Gonz to his immediate family in Ventura, Mike sings the praises of his inspirations and the people he couldn’t do it without. As seen in our April ‘21 issue.
When I first watched Mark’s part in Video Days (many years after it was released), everything I thought I knew about skateboarding was thrown out. He broke down all barriers and continues to do so. How can someone zig-zag down the street without any noticeable spots and make you want to go there to skate Mark is pure magic. He covers all things good about skateboarding—freedom, creativity, youthfulness, adrenaline, rebellion, timelessness, flow, spontaneity, humor, effortless talent, the list goes on and on. When I watch him skate, I can almost see music. Nobody else has that. Having the privilege of befriending, skating with and working with Mark over the last 13 years has been surreal. Mark Gonzales IS skateboarding. Oh yeah, his artwork is super fucking rad, and he’s a pretty cool boss, too.
Influence in motion! Manderson's closing part brings the following inspirations to life
Over the bar to switch wallride Photo: Karpinski
One thing’s for sure, if I hadn’t become friends with Van I would have never had my name on a Krooked board. Nobody knew who I was over there and Van made Mark’s assistant buy me a ticket to NYC. And just like that—I was in NYC skating with the Krooked team filming for Naughty. He made it so they had to put me in there. Van introduced me to so many things during my coming-of-age years that I hold onto dearly and will continue to forever—music, movies, different aspects of skateboarding and he showed me a lot about being a genuine man and friend. When Van passed he taught me how to cope and grow. My daughter never had the privilege of meeting Uncle Van, but she knows how important he is to our family.
When I first saw Van skate in person I was as blown away as the first time I saw Video Days. He made his own lines, had his own groove, his style was so incredibly controlled yet somehow loose, his flatground was soooo proper, his frontside ollies on transition, backside tailslides, his pop, his goof-around skating, frontside flips, tail scrapes, shuffles, boardslides, ALL OF IT! He had his own flavor with everything. His skating is embedded in my head. If you were fortunate enough to skate with Van you know exactly what I’m talking about. To me, he’s the best, most genuine skateboarder of our generation. He will inspire us all forever. Thank you, Van! RIP, brother. Love you.
Making lemonade out of someone’s car insurance deductible. Wallie blast Photo: Coulthard
Transfer in the streets like Guy, frontside noseslide over and in Photo: Coulthard
Video Days to Mouse to Pretty Sweet and everything before, between and after, Guy has been pushing skateboarding to the next level time and time again for over 30 years! Doesn’t seem like there’s been any slowing down, either. What makes him even gnarlier is how he didn’t skate for a few years due to addiction, right in the middle of this legendary career, and came back stronger than ever without skipping a beat. He showed us we can get over those speed bumps that seem too big and still prosper. Been on many sessions with Guy the past few years. His talent is truly next level. The warm-up tricks I’ve seen him do would be multiple-day battles for most of us. His modesty and genuine love for skateboarding is infectious. You want to get out there, skate harder and do better when you go skate with Guy.
Frontside flip at the remains of LA High Photo: Coulthard
You can definitely hear music on this tailside to NBS, something like Calypso maybe Photo: Coulthard
When you open up a dictionary and make your way to the letter G, Sammy Baca is the first thing that pops up. Pick one up and check. It’s crazy! One time we went to the snow and he refused to put snow clothes and boots on. He kept it OG and ran the shorts, tall socks, Chucks, beanie and a hoodie to keep warm. Sammy is hands down one of the most dedicated, loving fathers there is. He inspires everyone in his circle to be a better father/man. Sammy is one of the most mellow guys ever until it’s time to fire it up. Once he steps on that skateboard, it’s on! He goes 1,000,000 mph and destroys everything in his path, no matter how fucked and gnarly the spots are. When the switch is flipped, it’s on. It’s so fun to watch him get at it. Wish I could borrow some of that juice. Oh yeah, his curb stall skating and switch heels are the best!
Switch feeble grind… for all my friends! Photo: Coulthard
Destroying everything in his path, Mike channels Baca on this FSA Photo: Coulthard
Devo and Mark Mothersbaugh songs have been the constant adrenaline-inducing, youthful, full-speed-ahead-and-don’t-look-back music to bless my ears and rattle my brain since my early teens. I watched something where he explains how he puts subliminal messages in the music he does for shows and commercials. From, “sugar is bad for you” in a soda commercial and other things like, “your parents aren’t always right.” I love it. One time I was pulling up and my dad asked, “You ever listen to anything else?” As an awkward, skateboarding weirdo, Devo was my anthem during my coming-of-age years (still is). Mark’s message stands true: de-evolution is real. Look at us! We’re a mess!
He wore a hat, had a job and tailslid to fakie so that… no one knew Photo: Karpinski
I was five years old recovering from a surgery to remove a tumor from the arch of my foot. I’d just fallen in love with skateboarding prior to the surgery, and the doctor broke the news to me that I’d never skate again. I was watching a 411 at my cousin’s when Jon Comer showed us nothing can keep a skateboarder from skateboarding. At that moment he became my hero. He blew my mind and brought my love of skateboarding to the next level. Jon had one leg and could heelflip frontside air on a vert ramp then go skate a handrail! Years later we became friends and my respect for him grew even more—watching him battle tricks, seeing him break his fake foot off while trying a trick. I was even there when he dressed like a pirate and rode the Skatelab bowl with a peg leg. Next time you complain about how shitty your shoes are ’cause your can’t feel your board, think of Jon. Jon will continue to inspire. Thank you for everything. You changed my life for the better. Rest In Peace. Love you, Jon!
Grind to grind to smile to high five Photo: Coulthard
Cards-approved ollie into a busted bank Photo: Coulthard
When I’m trying a trick or skating a spot I’m scared of, I think, What would Cardiel do? I’ve chanted his name thousands of times to try to conjure up some of that juice. John is so inspiring beyond just skateboarding. When he woke up unable to use his legs after getting ran over by a trailer, he didn’t let it keep him down. In record-breaking time he was able to make that coping clank again! John’s energy on a skateboard is so fucking amazing, you don’t even need to watch him do tricks to get juiced. All you need is to see that push, those carves and pumps. Just writing about him makes me want to get out there and scare myself on the skateboard. It’s like the second he steps foot on a skateboard, every ounce of his body is flowing and every muscle is used and the most vibrant energy ever is produced. Skateboarding was truly blessed the day John Cardiel picked up a board.
Wires crossed and blunts scrambled Photo: Karpinski
Photo-bombed 180 fakie 5-0 Photo: Pires
I’ve been fortunate enough to travel the world with Jake and it’s pretty funny how he’s still constantly shocking us. Most of us are somewhat predictable on what we’ll try at a spot, but with Jake you can never guess. The things I’ve seen him do and try are otherworldly. Now Jake’s got a mini ramp. Watching someone who is already beyond talented tap into another form of skating is so rad. Every spot he skates becomes the Jake Johnson spot. A funny thing about Jake is how willing he is to get into debates. He’s so stubborn, (me too). We’ve gone on for hours, getting nowhere, and I love it. Jake’s been through a good amount of gnarly injuries so he’s really into rehabilitation. On one trip he had an entire duffel bag dedicated to all these different massage tools and contraptions. He helps keep us all going strong on the road. Jake’s awesome!
Charm City hurricane, dropping fast Photo: Coulthard
Calm and collected switch backside blunt Photo: Coulthard
Neil Young has been the calm-down-and-collect-myself music since my early teens. Whether I’m overwhelmed or stressed out, or just feeling good and want to keep the vibe going, his music brings me to the place I need to be. It’s wise, timeless, thoughtful, genuine, beautiful music. I always admired how at the height his career he moved to the sticks to raise his children and be out of the spotlight. His involvement with The Bridge School and the millions of dollars he helped raise is beyond admirable. Seems like he’s always stayed true to himself and his love for music.
Invested in a pyramid scheme, and a rough one at that Photo: Karpinski
Old man, take a look at this Smith Photo: Coulthard
My pops is the hardest-working person I’ve ever met. He’s worked in LA (a one-hour-plus drive each way from Ventura) as a prop maker, building movie sets for the majority of my life. There were a number of times he worked seven days a week for months straight and still always spent time with us, built us ramps and cooked amazing food. He showed me what a real man looks like.
My mom is the sweetest lady I know. She’s the mom for all the skate bros. We were fortunate enough for her to be a stay-at-home mom, and we definitely kept her working full time taking care of us. She always made sure we had good meals on the table and was always there for us. I wish I had half the heart my mom does.
Cainan is such a badass. He’s to thank for introducing skateboarding to me and Jake. I wanted to be cool like Cainan, so I started skating to hang out with him more. He had huge ollies and sick nollie 360 shove its. He also blessed us with the sweetest niece Kaya, and most badass nephew Isaac.
Stylish crooked grinds run in the family Photo: Mullins
I gave Jake hell growing up (still do sometimes). Jake is a real-life Will Ferrell movie character. He also happens to be one of the greatest, most powerful skateboarders of all time (don’t tell him I said that). He can actually skate any spot. When he pops, it’s so explosive it literally shakes the concrete.
Vanessa was the most creative of us growing up. She was always shooting rad photos and doing really good artwork. Not sure if I would have paid attention to how people shoot photos and artwork without her influence. She most definitely inspired me to be more creative, have a more open eye and try to view things differently. She’s also an amazing cook.
Daisy and I met when I was a loose cannon, shortly after Van passed away. She had her hands full when I entered her life. I wasn’t looking for love, and then—BOOM—all these fuzzy feelings and such. I was hooked. Daisy may be pint-sized but her spirit and voice are bigger and stronger and more powerful than anything I’ve seen. Daisy is a dedicated animal activist/vegan who has inspired countless others to do better and save animals’ lives. She inspires me to be louder and prouder and have more empathy. When Daisy hits the kitchen you know you’re in for a treat. She’s the most firme hyna there is! Couldn’t imagine raising our beautiful daughter with anyone else.
Oh, my sweet Lyla Lee. If there’s one person who inspires me more than anyone, it’s Lyla. She’s the ultimate human. I swear she has a better grasp on life than any adult I’ve ever met and she’s only ten! She’s truly an individual. When she enters a room she owns the room because her energy is so heavy, yet she’s so modest and put together she’ll just stroll by, not even have to say a word and stops people in their tracks in awe. She’s the most empathetic, genuine, smart, creative, little badass there ever was and she ain’t afraid to get them hands dirty either. Lyla takes care of the goats, dogs, her cat, chickens and guinea fowl daily and spends plenty of time in the back playing with hatchets and knives. She’s been cooking dinner for us on a regular basis for years—not normal kid food, she comes up with really good, complex recipes of her own. She’s so rad. Every day I’m in awe of her and can’t believe how lucky I am to be Lyla’s father. She’s the best human ever. She truly inspires all of us to be better.
Family first. How long will it be before Lyla’s flying over dad? Photo: Sherbert